The vibrant colors of autumn along with the crisp air always seem to remind me of a time long long ago when I would walk from the apartment I lived in to my grandmother’s (Mami Saro) house.
As I left the apartment to walk the one block to get to her house, I was focused on getting there.
Mami Saro had me spoiled. It seemed like she had a favorite from each one of her six children’s kids. I considered myself lucky.
The door was usually unlocked when I arrived. Entering the apartment the smell of food always permeated the air. Would she make my favorite “snack” today ~ scrambled eggs with diced spam ham? All I had to do was ask.
The ham would quickly be roasted on a frying pan before the egg would be added. Comfort food.
Yes, this was a most welcoming and loving place. Autumn floods my brain with those feelings.
We woke up to about 5 inches of snow today so mid-morning my husband and I headed outdoors in the 15 degree weather to shovel.
After shoveling our driveway and sidewalks I asked my husband if he was up to shoveling the neighbors driveway and sidewalk also. He agreed.
About 45 minutes after we had come inside, we looked out the window to see the neighbor’s son with his snowblower clearing off one small area that we had decided not to do. Had we waited he would have done all of it, but we have no regrets.
Then I received a text from a neighbor two houses down from us and she wanted to drop something off for us and wanted to make sure we were home.
Within minutes she left a large brown bag on the front bench. We waved at her as her young daughter recently was exposed to someone who had Covid so she didn’t want us to chat this time.
Opening the front door I quickly grabbed the bag and brought it indoors. The bag felt warm as I laid it on the kitchen counter.
I opened it and saw it was a loaf of homemade baked bread. Wow! I felt so blessed by this kind gesture of hers.
I had planned to make a curry dish for dinner with rice but decided to have this bread instead of rice.
It was delicious!
Since we moved to a suburb of Illinois a couple years ago we have been blessed with neighbors who shovel our walkways, bring us food and even desserts!
After dinner my husband heard a knock on the door and when he opened it the neighbor whose driveway we shoveled handed him a box and thanked him for shoveling her driveway. She had woken up with a pain in her arm so wasn’t able to go outside.
We were instructed not to open the box until tomorrow …
I decided I was going to teach myself how to make Makena a dress or two. Purchased the pattern and headed to YouTube as its quite complicated for a newbie. (They seem to make lots of assumptions on what one knows â€¦)
Finally got all the pieces cut and headed to the sewing machine. Reading each step several times I started sewing. I was so proud of myself until I made it to step 2 which Iâ€™m sure is missing instructions.
After sewing two pieces together I took it off the machine and laughed and laughed as I had sewn the armpit together.
My husband’s mother recently died and, although they were not close, it had an impact on him.
Sadness crept in and a sense of wondering what to do. We had gone to visit her in another state a month earlier as she had started hospice and we knew the end was near.
People who know my husband know he is a quiet and reserved person, so most chose to send him a text and he responded to each one.
But what else can people do when they aren’t sure exactly how to respond when someone dies?
I have five very simple suggestions:
Call them. Instead of texting, which seems to be more common these days, people need to hear the voice of others saying “we heard your mother died, how are you doing?” Allow the person to talk if they have something to say. You can also share a memory of the person if you have one ~ but, if you don’t have a memory to share, it’s okay to have the conversation be short. It’s not about length of time on the phone but more about checking in to let them know you care and are aware of the situation.
Send flowers. I would wait a couple days or even a week or two to send flowers. This shows you have not forgotten that they are going through a time of grieving. We received the bouquet below and it lasted almost two weeks and served as a reminder that we were thought of.
3. Send a card. My husband received many of his cards 1-2 weeks after his mother died and they are still on display. Again, a reminder that someone thought of him and cared to send a message.
4. Deliver food or have it delivered. I know this sounds strange to some, but we had a cousin send us a delivery from a company called Wolferman’s which included breakfast muffins and a frozen quiche. Every time we have breakfast we think of the thoughtfulness of that cousin.
5. A year later ~ do one of the above. Although the person has been dead for a year the anniversary of a person’s death is fresh in a person’s mind. I have a friend who, 10 years after his wife has died, still grieves for her so I call him on that day and we share memories of her.
Some feel awkward to call or send something, but small kindnesses really help a person who is grieving.
The neighbor across the street from us, who loves to bake, brought two slices over the other day from a cake she had made. It was light and delicious.
The cake is made by making very thin crepes then layering them with “frosting” which was made with very little sugar. Later she brought the recipe over and I must say, it looks like it’s very easy to make. A search on the internet also shows many recipes.
While making dinner, a knock on the door. Unusual.
Opening the door I find my neighbor from across the street who had stopped to talk with me last week while I was shoveling snow. She left me for a little bit and came back with 1/2 a loaf of homemade pumpkin bread and explained â€œthis is the way we make it.â€ This time she smiled ear to ear and handed me an aluminum foil covered gift. â€œA whole loaf of pumpkin bread for you ~ still warmâ€ she said.